OP Christmas

AU0A7791 AU0A7795 AU0A7798 AU0A7808 AU0A7811 AU0A7815 Zoo Tree Tent

There are some things in life I really enjoy vicariously.  As in, I don’t own them, I just appreciate someone else having made the investment I’m not willing to make.  Two things that fall into this category for me are boats and Christmas decorations.

I really love Christmas decorations, but I hate getting them all out, putting them up, fixing what doesn’t work, and then taking them all down again and storing them–all when it’s really cold out.  The amount of time you get to enjoy them seems disproportional to the amount of effort and space they require both during and after the holidays.

Hence, I decided to pursue OP Christmas lights this year.  OP as in  Other People’s.  Fortunately for me, there were lots of opportunities to see Christmas lights.  There was the Mainx24 event and parade.  The Starlight parade.  The Lighted Boat Parade.  Rock City.  And, now, the Chattanooga Zoo.

Rock City was a trip.  We drove up to Lookout Mountain to see this popular Christmas destination.  We got there before there was a line to drive into the parking lot, but there was already a 30 minute wait to buy tickets to get in the door.

When at long last we got through the gate, there was another 30 minute wait to get from the entrance gate to the main path.  We found a way around to the upper trails, but Pat and Tisen hung out in the courtyard and waited for me so they didn’t have to fight the crowds.  I took my camera and tripod and managed to politely force my way through the line to the alternate path.

After getting a few decent shots, but nothing really exciting, I was more than happy to call it quits and head back to Chattanooga.  On the way back down, we passed bumper to bumper cars for at least 5 miles straight, all stopped as they waited to get into the parking lot for Rock City.

By comparison, I got a preview of the Chattanooga Zoo after hours.  The reason why is too long a story to tell, but let’s just say it pays to know the right people.  They stayed late after the zoo closed to let me in after dark so I could shoot their lights.  It was the absolute opposite experience of shooting at Rock City.

Instead of long lines and jam-packed crowds, I got a personal guided tour, shuttled around on a maintenance truck, and was given plenty of space and time to shoot.  I felt like a famous person or something.

While the Chattanooga Zoo would probably need to add at least 3 zeros to their bulb count to get to the number of lights at Rock City, I preferred the Chattanooga Zoo experience.  I have a few more shots to share from the zoo tomorrow, but today’s shots were from the entry area.  I had a particularly good time trying to capture the hippo’s head moving.

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